SAS staff member first Paramedic to receive The Doctor of Professional Studies award

A Scottish Ambulance Service staff member has become the first paramedic in Scotland to receive The Doctor of Professional Studies academic award.

Dr Chris Aitchison, 51, West Clinical Training Officer based at West EPDD Hamilton and from Peebles, successfully achieved his Clinical Doctorate, which is the only one of its kind in Scotland.

It is titled Describing the Demographic and Clinical Characteristics of Patients Who Present to the Scottish Ambulance Service with Non-Traumatic Back Pain. A Retrospective Observational Study.

His thesis focussed on the pre-hospital identification, treatment and immediate outcomes of patients presenting to the Scottish Ambulance Service with non-traumatic back pain across one year between 2017-2018.

Speaking on why he chose this particular topic for his thesis, Chris said: “There was a subjective perception that back pain was a condition that was thought to be low acuity or unlikely to be life-threatening. This suggested that it was an unlikely reason to call 999, yet many friends and colleagues in SAS told me that they often responded to people with back pain. 

“I determined there were no pre-hospital ambulance studies that had described the people who called us for help.  To inform any future intervention or care pathways for SAS, it appeared logical a basic understanding of this population was therefore required which led to my study.”

Chris looked at the population, their demographics, age, gender, socioeconomic status, and clinically how poorly they were. 

He added: “I also looked at how ambulance clinicians assessed people, their diagnoses and how the patients were managed. I also managed to capture some of the GP urgent call data in this analysis.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been awarded the Doctor of Professional Studies academic award as I tried to design my thesis so it can help future ambulance researchers with their work, using mine like a guide. Back pain was used in this case but there is a gold mine of many other conditions that need to be explored in ambulance care.  I hope my small contribution helps.”  

Scottish Ambulance Service CEO Michael Dickson said: “I'd like to offer my sincere congratulations to Dr Aitchison. This shows amazing dedication for such an important area of work and to be first Paramedic in Scotland to receive this award is an amazing achievement. Research such as this is vital as pre-hospital care is such an important part of the patient’s journey, we hope it encourages others to build on this work in the future.”

Posted on 28/06/2024